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I wasn't trying to sound overtly negative about London, although reading over what I wrote again I guess it does come across that way. I actually like living here. It's a hell of a lot cheaper than Toronto, large enough that you have all amenities you'd need and close enough to Toronto and Detroit for one day trips.

My only qualms with the city are the lack of overpasses and a local freeway, but it's only an issue for people who need to drive. It is a problem that the downtown is split with a railroad track on the north and south sides, and it essentially cuts the city in half whenevr a train passes through.

I find that the city is actually rather compact, which can be traced back to it not having a local freeway. Also, unlike most post WWII subdivisions, London has very few roads that are strictly collector roads. Most of the city is largely in a gride pattern except for some of the very recent subdivisions on the outskirts.

KW, being approximately the same population, takes up twice as much land as London, and the sprawl is all along the Conestoga Parkway. Obviously KW's economy is much stronger than London's right now and having a good freeway serving the city is a huge part of that, but one cannot deny that it has caused much lower density patterns.

London didn't necessarily go wrong by not building a freeway in the 60s, but they did go wrong by not leaving enough room beside Highbury to eventually turn it into a freeway back when that land was still undeveloped. Turning Highbury into a freeway now would be extremely complicated. The only easy option is to move onto Veterans, however that is 8km from downtown at the closest part, whereas Highbury is 3km. It'd be so out of the way for most people I doubt it'd get much use.

London's downtown I find to be pretty big considering its population. It has a taller skyline than Halifax, for example. Lots of cool things to do down there.

Ultimately, London's lack of reaching its potential can be blamed on the city not investing into proper infrastructure, or leaving options open to invest once they felt the time to be right. Also, demolishing an entire block for a downtown mall has proven to be a gigantic failure. I like London and will probably stay here for a little while longer, it just frustrates me to see city that has become a victim of repeated short-term thinking.